Mike Cantrell, the lone Republican Dallas County commissioner, has drafted as resolution calling on District Attorney Craig Watkins to go to court to try to suspend fellow Commissioner John Wiley Price with pay until Price's federal bribery case is completed. Cantrell also wants whichever district judge who rules on Prices removal -- they're all Democrats -- to appoint a temporary replacement for Price during his suspension.
Maybe he should have asked for a pony too.
The resolution isn't likely to pass, but it's cheeky. The Dallas Morning News is writing about it, we're writing about, so Cantrell is getting something.
Here are the pertinent bits:
Cantrell says that while he "does recognize the fundamental protection for a person accused of a crime which requires the government to prove its case against any defendant beyond a reasonable doubt" that it is the commissioners' duty to "consider the severity of the alleged charges made against an individual in relation to the scope of their duties and responsibilities, the impact of the arrest on the county's integrity and public image, and to prevent further harm to Dallas County and ensure citizens that the alleged actions are terminated."
Cantrell says that, despite appearances, the move isn't political.
"Take politics totally out of it, what is in the best interest of the county and what type of example do you set for the employees of Dallas County?" he says. "That's why I'm doing it. Yes, I may not get the votes to make this thing happen, but it's the principle of it. Why do we have a code of ethics if we're not going to follow it?"
Non-elected employees are subject to suspension and termination if they're accused or convicted of a crime, Cantrell reasons, so elected officials should be held for the same standard. He's waited weeks, he says, to propose this resolution because he wanted to give Price time to recuse himself from court actions related to the procurement process. That's not going to happen, so Cantrell decided to move forward.
At the very least, it should make for a fun Tuesday at the usually dull Commissioners Court, which can be watched online here.
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